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This Week in Kentucky Basketball: What is the Schedule?

Photo via SEC

Photo via SEC

If the last 11 months of living in this new Coronavirus world has taught us anything it is that every schedule is written in pencil. Flexibility is the name of the game as events can be postponed or cancelled at a moment’s notice with a new plan being thrown at you right away. This is even more true in the world of college basketball.

Kentucky’s schedule has been impacted once again due to an opponent’s Coronavirus issues, this time forcing the postponement of Tuesday’s game with Texas A&M. This is now the fourth game on UK’s schedule that has been postponed/cancelled this season due to Coronavirus issues. As college basketball insider Jon Rothstein likes to say, scheduling this is season is wilder than a goat rodeo.

Coach Calipari has talked about the possibility of adding a game against a mid-major this week, but has also stated that the team could use a break and some time to recoup. It remains possible that a game could be added to the schedule for tomorrow night or Wednesday evening, but with each passing hour that becomes less likely. As we stand right now, the Wildcats will return to the floor Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time against the Florida Gators.

You can obviously stay up to date on any and all news regarding potential updates or changes to Kentucky’s basketball schedule right here on Kentucky Sports Radio. Until we hear something though we are moving forward and preparing to host the Gators on Saturday. We’ve had our 24 hours to to celebrate beating Tennessee and it is back to business now that a new week is upon us.


Storyline of the Week

Is a Double Bye Really a Possibility?

Photo by UK Athletics

I don’t want to write this. I am not one to delve into hypotheticals and if this Kentucky basketball season has taught us anything it is to not get our hopes up. However, sometimes the bounce of the ball leads you to a storyline that just can’t be ignored. Yes, the ‘Cats could still capture a double bye in the SEC Tournament.

I know what you are thinking. We have all gone through this before. When Kentucky rattled off three wins to begin SEC play we thought the corner had been turned and that the NCAA Tournament was back on the table. Unfortunately, three consecutive losses were to follow including gut-wrenching defeats to Auburn and Georgia. Like I said, I don’t want to play the hypothetical, but with a game against Florida looming on Saturday is the possibility of moving up to the number four seed in the Southeastern Conference tournament a real thing?

I hate to burst the bubble after all of that lead up, but the short answer is almost certainly NO.

The Wildcats currently sit a 7-7 in SEC play in a tie for seventh place with Ole Miss. Thanks to two Coronavirus postponements at the hands of South Carolina and Texas A&M there are just two games left on the schedule, Florida, and at Ole Miss. Kentucky would be best served by getting the two games with the Gamecocks and Aggies rescheduled for the final week of the season, but either way right now there are just too many teams standing between us and fourth place.

Florida (7-5), Tennessee (8-6), and Missouri (7-6) all stand between Kentucky and the four seed, not to mention Ole Miss (7-7) who has won four of their last five games. The potential to pick up the tiebreak against Florida with a win on Saturday and the Gators still having to play at Auburn and against Missouri make catching them not all that far-fetched. Unfortunately, there are other teams vying for that coveted double-bye.

The problem becomes catching Tennessee and/or Missouri, not to mention having to take care of our own business by winning whatever games end up remaining on our schedule. If we say that Missouri beats Florida which would help us catch the Gators, that would mean the Tigers have to lose at home to either Ole Miss or Texas A&M to even force a tie (and they have the tiebreaker). Likewise, Tennessee just has two games on the schedule at Vanderbilt and at Auburn. Passing either of these teams in the standings seems unlikely with just two weeks remaining in the regulars season.

Kentucky’s chances at reaching the number four seed hinge on every team making up as many SEC games as possible. However, the short answer is that it isn’t going to happen. The most important thing is just to keep playing better basketball and raking up as many wins as possible heading into the SEC Tournament. This team has proven they can play with anybody in the conference. No matter what the seeding ends up shaking out to be, the Wildcats have officially become a team that nobody will want to play in Nashville.


This Week’s Opponent

Florida enter’s this week with a record of 11-6, 7-5 in the SEC. The Gators currently hold on to that number four seed that we have talked about at length already in this article. They will play at Auburn on Tuesday night and still have a game scheduled against Missouri next week as well.

Coach Mike White’s squad has lost to Arkansas and beaten Georgia since returning from a three game Coronavirus pause that included missing road trips to LSU and Tennessee. It remains to be seen if the Gators will be rescheduling any of those games that they missed.

Point Guard Tre Mann continues to play at an All-SEC level averaging 14.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. Big man Colin Castleton is leading the SEC in field goal percentage at 60.7% while averaging 13.3 points and 5.8 rebounds. Rounding out the Gators in double-figures are Noah Locke and Tyree Appleby at 11 and 10.8 points per game respectively.


Around the Southeastern Conference

Photo by Elliott Hess | UK Athletics

-The ice/snow storm that made its way through much of the southern United States caused several games to be postponed last week.

-Alabama survived a scare against Vanderbilt on Saturday to move to 13-1 in the league. With just two weeks of the regular season left the Crimson Tide have a three game lead over Arkansas and LSU.

-Kentucky was the only SEC team to go 2-0 this week with wins over Vanderbilt and Tennessee.

-This week Florida will play at Auburn on Tuesday night on ESPN. The Gators need a win to keep pace to earn the final double bye in the SEC Tournament.

-Arkansas hosts Alabama Wednesday night in a marquee matchup on ESPN2.

-On Saturday, LSU travels to Arkansas for a battle of teams tied for second place in the conference. There will be a lot of movement in the SEC standings this week.


National Games to Watch

Monday

#18 Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN)

Oregon @ #19 USC (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time FS1)

Tuesday

#5 Illinois @ Michigan State (7:00 p.m. Eastern Time FS1)

#10 West Virginia @ TCU (7:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN2)

Georgia Tech @ #16 Virginia Tech (7:00 p.m. Eastern Time ACC Network)

Iowa State @ #2 Baylor (8:00 p.m. Eastern Time)

St. John’s @ #8 Villanova (8:00 p.m. Eastern Time CBS Sports Network)

#7 Oklahoma @ Kansas State (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN2)

#17 Kansas @ #14 Texas (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN)

Ole Miss @ #24 Missouri (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time SEC Network)

Wednesday

NC State @ #15 Virginia (6:30 p.m. Eastern Time ACC Network)

#11 Florida State @ Miami (8:30 p.m. Eastern Time ACC Network)

#6 Alabama @ #20 Arkansas (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN2)

DePaul @ #13 Creighton (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time CBS Sports Network)

#25 Tennessee @ Vanderbilt (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time SEC Network)

Thursday

#10 West Virginia @ #2 Baylor (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time)

Santa Clara @ #1 Gonzaga (7:00 p.m. Eastern Time CBS Sports Network)

#9 Iowa @ #3 Michigan (7:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN)

Nebraska @ #5 Illinois (7:00 p.m. Eastern Time Big Ten Network)

Western Kentucky @ #12 Houston (7:00 p.m. Eastern Time)

#4 Ohio State @ Michigan State (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN)

#19 USC @ Colorado (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time)

Boise State @ #22 San Diego State (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time FS1)

Friday

Bellarmine @ Liberty (6:00 p.m. Eastern Time)

Purdue @ Penn State (7:00 p.m. Eastern Time FS1)

Richmond @ Saint Louis (7:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN2)

Southern Illinois @ #21 Loyola Chicago (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time CBS Sports Network)

Nevada @ Utah State (9:00 p.m. Eastern Time FS1)

Saturday

#3 Michigan @ Indiana (12:00 p.m. Eastern Time)

#14 Texas @ #18 Texas Tech (12:00 p.m. Eastern Time CBS)

Wake Forest @ #16 Virginia Tech (12:00 p.m. Eastern Time ACC Network)

#25 Tennessee @ Auburn (12:00 p.m. Eastern Time)

#5 Illinois @ Wisconsin (2:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN)

LSU @ #20 Arkansas (2:00 p.m. Eastern Time)

Oklahoma State @ #7 Oklahoma (3:00 p.m. Eastern Time ABC)

Kansas State @ #10 West Virginia (4:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN2)

#11 Florida State @ North Carolina (4:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN)

Boise State @ #22 San Diego State (4:00 p.m. Eastern Time CBS Sports Network)

#13 Creighton @ Xavier (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time FOX)

Texas A&M @ #24 Missouri (6:00 p.m. Eastern Time SEC Network)

#2 Baylor @ #17 Kansas (8:00 p.m. Eastern Time ESPN)

#6 Alabama @ Mississippi State (8:30 p.m. Eastern Time SEC Network)

Loyola Marymount @ #1 Gonzaga (10:00 p.m. Eastern Time)


@BRamseyKSR

Article written by Brandon Ramsey

Basketball X's & O's for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @BRamseyKSR